Archive for September, 2011

We Take A Break From Continental Europe

September 22, 2011 1 comment

Vineyard in Valle de Guadalupe, LA Cetto, Image by eltono (flickr)

I always find it fun to shake things up and drink outside of our usual regions.  I was looking forward to the L.A. Cetto from Mexico but this was not a good wine.  It had been years since I drank one of their wines  but what I do remember is that they were enjoyable.  At this price point it is worth trying a different selection.  The Camberley is a decent value but somewhat uninteresting.  The Yves Leccia from Corsica is certainly worth a try if you have never drunk a Corsican wine but it is a bit over priced.  The big surprise was the Dr. Konstantin Frank Chardonnay from New York!  This is a cool climate Chardonnay that might appeal to those willing to venture away from bigger styles.  At $15 it is a strong value and a wine that everyone should try.

A Vineyard In Corsica, Image by there2roam (flickr)

The L.A. Cetto was purchased for $12 at The Wine Cellar/Exxon gas station in Ocean City, MD.  The Yves Leccia is imported by Kermit Lynch and purchased for $20 at MacArthurs.  The Camberley Prohibition was purchased for $15-$20 at MacArthur’s.  The Dr. Konstantin Frank was purchased for $15 at Wegmans in Fairfax, VA.

2008 L.A. Cetto, Petit Sirah, Baja California
This wine is 100% Petit Sirah that was aged for six months in French barriques.  Unfortunately, not so good.  Very forward, jammy, overtly fruity wine.  I could not drink it but Jenn enjoyed a glass. * Now.

2009 Domaine d’E Croce (Yves Leccia), Cuvee YL, Corsica
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Nielluciu that was fermented and aged for 12 months in stainless steel.  This has pine-sol notes of pine and lemon to the tooty-fruity red aromas.  In the mouth the hard red flavors had some texture in this light to medium-bodied wine.  There are some blue fruits that mix with hints of minerals as the wine becomes lifted.  Fine+ tannins come out in the finish and aftertaste. ** Now-2015.

2006 Camberley, Prohibition, Stellenbosch
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 28 months.  Of the 14 barrels that were aged, four were used for the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the remaining 10 for the Prohibition.  This was dark with a nose of eucalyptus and graphite.  In the mouth the dark, sour fruits mixed with tart acidity and continued into the dark, steely aftertaste.  There were minimal tannins.  Needs more verve. ** Now.

2008 Dr. Konstantin Frank, Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Finger Lakes
This is 100% Chardonnay where a portion of free-run juice was fermented in French oak barrels with the rest in stainless steel vats.  It was aged for ten months in barrel.  On the second night there was a nice, lifted nose of rich fruit.  In the mouth the medium weight fruit had a soft attack followed by flinty qualities.  The fruit was apple-like with some heft, a bit of sweet spice, and green apple-like acidity.  Actually quite pleasing. *** Now.

Dr. Konstantin Frank Vineyard, Image by bobindrums (flickr)

Kobrand’s Tour d’Italia

September 21, 2011 Leave a comment

The Occidental

Thanks to Phil and Gary I was able to attend Kobrand’s Tour d’Italia held in Washington, DC.  This was the sixth of ten stops for the tour and was located in the Occidental Grill & Seafood.  I arrived shortly after the event started and found that a line to check in had already formed!  The event was well-organized with all of the winemakers and Kobrand employees in a cheerful mood.  I worked my way through most of the wines then went back a second time with Tim.  I tasted most of the wines but there were a few I neglected to write any notes for so I have left those out of this post.  For detailed background information please refer to the Kobrand website.

Tenuta Sette Ponti

Giovanna Moretti

I rather enjoyed these wines.  The Crognolo and the Saia offer good value while the Oreno and Maharis ratchet things up in both taste and price.

2009 Tenuta Sette Ponti, Crognolo, Toscana IGT
This showed dark red berries, herbs, and racy flavors in an enjoyable wine.  The flavors turned darker and harder in the finish, though young, it drank well. Not Rated.

2009 Tenuta Sette Ponti, Oreno, Toscana, IGT
This was even more aromatic than the Crognolo with blackberry, racy, ripe fruit, and a dark profile.  Nice. Not Rated.

2009 Tenuta Sette Ponti, Poggio al Lupo, Maremma IGT
This was fruitier with red berries, less structure, and a more forward, early drinking style.  I preferred the Crognolo. Not Rated.

2007 Feudo Maccari, Saia, Nero d’Avola, Sicily
This was the most aromatic thus far with redder fruit, good acidity, and underlying structure.  Young, strong value.  You may find an earlier post about this wine here. Not Rated.

2006 Feudo Maccari, Maharis, Sicily
I rather liked this, with obvious red fruit and a dark berry cork, quite enjoyable.  The addition of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah create a different wine than the Saia.  There is a fair amount of tannin but lively acidity keeps the wine polished.N ot Rated.

Tenute Silvio Nardi

Emelia Nardi

The Rosso di Montalcino was a good start but I kept circling back to the regular Brunello di Montalcino, it is worth seeking out.

2009 Tenute Silvio Nardi, Rosso di Montalcino DOC
This was youthful with cherries, confection, well-integrated acidity, and fine tannins that left a spicy note.  Quite pleasurable. Not Rated.

2006 Tenute Silvio Nardi, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
A strong earthy nose, dark red berries, complex, and structured so cellar for several years of development.  Quite captivating. Not Rated.

2006 Tenute Silvio Nardi, Manachiara, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
This was quite different from the regular Brunello.  A delicate perfumed nose gave way to redder, brighter fruit with fine, powerful tannins.  It was not as complex as the Brunello. Not Rated.

Fernando Pighin & Figli

I never buy Pinot Grigio so it was a pleasure to drink these two completely different styles.
2010 Fernando Pighin & Figlio, Pinot Grigio, Friuli Grave DOC
A light straw color.  A medium aromatic nose of ripe fruit then an about-face as zesty, fresh, floral fruit, and acidity fill the mouth. Not Rated.

2010 Fernando Pighin & Figli, Pinot Grigio, Collio DOC
This was less aromatic with a darker nose.  Full of citrus and pineapple it was riper in the mouth with good texture. Not Rated.

Ambrogio e Giovanni Folonari Tenute

Giovanni Folonari

I tasted all but the two least expensive reds.  This is a strong portfolio all around.  I enjoyed the strong value in the Villa Nozzole and the high quality with the Tenuta La Fuga Brunello di Montalcino and Il Pareto.

2010 Tenuta Campo al Mare, Bolgheri Vermentino DOC
This had a light nose, flavors of crisp citrus, herbs, and good texture.  Quite nice.N ot Rated.

2009 Tenuta del Cabreo, La Pietra Chardonnay, Toscana IGT
This had a dried grass nose.  The green fruit immediately delivered flavors of toast, more austere than the Vermentino but it had a creamy texture and a long aftertaste. Not Rated.

2007 Villa Nozzole, Chianti Classico DOCG
This was a great start to the red with its earthy nose.  Soft red flavors, balanced, easy to drink. Not Rated.

2007 Tenuta di Nozzole, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG
This does not have th earthy characteristic of the Villa Nozzole.  Instead it is driven by red berries and reveals the structure from its upbringing. Not Rated.

2009 Tenuta Campo al Mare, Bolgheri DOC
Assuredly more modern with ripe black fruit, good texture, and approachable. Not Rated.

2007 Tenuta di Nozzole, La Forra, Chianti Classico Riserva DOCG
This had flavors of dark red berries, a bit of forest, a powerful wine, definitely structured for age. Not Rated.

2006 Tenuta La Fuga, Brunello di Montalcino DOCG
What can I write?  Lovely, complex, red fruit on the nose and in the mouth, tight but well defined components, cellar this for several years before trying again.  You may find my post on the 2004 here. Not Rated.

2008 Tenuta di Nozzole Il Pareto, Toscana IGT
Fairly complex with rose, spices, and herbs in this medium to full-bodied wine.  The mixture of black and blue fruits are still young and though it will develop for several years, it is quite approachable right now. Not Rated.

The Wines of Piero Incisa

Some Wines of Piero Incisa

The Turlo is a good value with quality elevated at Guidalberto and Barrua.  The Guidalberto is a strong alternative to the more expensive Sassicaia.

2009 Tenuta di Salviano, Salviano di Salviano, Umbria IGT
Notes of toast, creamy green fruit with some citrus. Not Rated.

2009 Barda, Pinot Noir, Patagonia, Argentina
A curve ball!  Strawberries, a little spice/texture, forward profile. Not Rated.

2009 Tenuta di Salviano, Turlo’, Lago di Corbara IGT
This has ripe, red, tooty-fruity nature, in a rich but soft wine.  A crowd pleaser. Not Rated.

2008 Tenuta di Salviano, Solideo, Lago di Corbara IGT
This had a more distinct, pure fruit nose with Merlot notes as compared to the Turlo. Not Rated.

2008 (?) Tenuta San Guido, Guidalberto, Toscana IGT
The ripe, red fruit is balanced, youthful, a sweet spice component, and easy to drink.  An excellent alternative to the Sassicaia if you need a more affordable wine. Not Rated.

2008 Tenuta San Guido, Sassicaia DOC
There were dark red fruits and a tad more complexity than the Guidalberto.  Well balanced, remarkably approachable. Not Rated.

2009 Agricola Punica, Montessu, Isola dei Nuraghi
No detailed note, just that I preferred the Barrua. Not Rated.

2007 Agricola Punica, Barrua, Isola dei Nuraghi
Fun stuff, stoney blackberries, lithe, and almost rich but tempered by refined tannins and acidity. Not Rated.

Michele Chiarlo

Alberto Chiarlo and the Author

I enjoyed started with the Barbera d’Asti Le Orme but was really captivated by the La Court.  Of the Barolos I preferred the Cerequio over the Cannubi.  But I am no Barolo expert so I am interested in your opinion.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Gavi Le Marne DOCG
I found clean flavors of apricot and apple in this crisp wine.  Not my style. Not Rated.

2009 Michele Chiarlo, Barbera d’Asti Le Orme DOCG
This had red berries, good acidity, and some interesting flavors in the finish.  Young but easy to drink.  Good value. Not Rated.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Barbera d’Asti Superiore Nizza La Court DOCG
This was quite engaging.  The interesting nose of dark berries and blackberries makes way to red fruit in the mouth, the acidity comes out as the enjoyable tannins develop.  There is a long earthy finish, and interesting aftertaste.  Good stuff! Not Rated.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Reyna Barbaresco DOCG
This was more subtle with a lighter nose that leaned towards dry red fruit and tea notes.  There are very fine, assertive tannins.  A nice wine that I would age because the current profile would complement bottle aged notes. Not Rated.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Barolo Tortoniano DOCG
Young, brambly fruit! Not Rated.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Barolo Cerequio DOCG
An adolescent with powerful, young tannins.  I found a bit more spice and texture fruit and ultimately felt there is more complexity here. Not Rated.

2007 Michele Chiarlo, Barolo Cannubi DOCG
These tannins were more intense and drying.  It tilted towards primary fruit and floral notes. Not Rated.

Tim and the Author

Spanish Wines with Jan and Rick

September 20, 2011 3 comments

Steve, Erica, Bryan, Jan, Rick, Aaron, and Valerie

This past weekend Jan and Rick hosted a Spanish themed dinner.  Each couple brought a course and wine to go with it.  We started off with glasses of Monistrol Cava on the deck, surrounded by candles, and pictures from their trip to Spain.  Erica and Bryan brought out appetizers of roasted peppers with sherry vinegar and fresh herbs along with puffs stuffed with anchovies and other goodies.  This was accompanied by the Papirusa sherry.  We then moved inside to tuck into the meatballs in a tomato sauce and tortilla which were washed down by the Torremilanos, Cyclo brought by Jenn and myself.  The pork-fest continued when Jan and Rick brought out a massive platter of roast pork accompanied by onions, a Pedro Ximenez based sauce, and spinach.  We debated the “rock star” description of the Celler Cecilio as it did not induce us to start trashing the dinning room.  Instead there was an ah-ha moment when we found notes of stone.  Finally, everyone made room for Steve and Valerie’s Machego, Mahon, and spicy Spanish sausage.  More glasses quickly appeared so we could try their Los Arcos, La Gitana, and Finca Sobreno wines.  I did not write down any tasting note so I have included my impressions below.

Bodegas Marques de Monistrol, Seleccion Especial Brut, Cava
This is a blend of Macabeo, Xarel-lo, and Parellada.  This is the sister cuvee to the Brut Rose that just was just Commended with two stars from Decanter.  An approachable, easy to drink Cava with soft, small bubbles with a light, central vein of sweet apples and citrus.  It finished clean. ** Now.

2006 Finca Torremilanos, Cyclo, Ribera del Duero
Finca Torremilanos is imported by Grapes of Spain.  This is a blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Blanca del Pais sourced from the 85-year-old Roble Viejo vineyard and the 150 year old Senoritas vineyard.  This drank great one hour after being double-decanted.  A medium strength nose of dark cherries and black berries that continue in the mouth.  The rich, concentrated flavors have a lovely texture and expand through the mouth and juicy finish.  The wine was balanced and not heavy so it was an easy, pleasurable drink.  Will easy last for many years to come but is lovely to drink right now. **** Now-2019.

2008 Celler Cecilio, Negre, Priorat
Celler Cecilio is imported by Vin de Terra Imports of Springfield, Virginia.  This is a blend of 50% Red Grenache, 20% Carignan, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Syrah.  The grapes were fermented in stainless steel using natural yeasts then rested for six months in stainless steel and used oak before bottling.  This showed redder fruit with aromas and flavors of raspberries that were supported by lively acidity.  Described as a “rock star” wine there are mineral flavors in this wild and structured wine. *** Now-2017.

2007 Finca Sobreno, Toro
Finca Sobreno is imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This is 100% Tempranillo sourced from 30-year-old vines.  The grapes were fermented in stainless steel then aged for seven months in American oak.  A pleasurable, ripe wine of dark berries, that is drinking well now. ** Now.

Lustau, Papirusa, Light Manzanilla
Lustau, Los Arcos, Dry Amontillado
Hidalgo, La Gitana, Manzanilla
I only took a picture of the Los Arcos.  The Papirusa was dry, salty, and very crisp.  The Los Arcos was rather enjoyable with the dry flavors of  nuts, green apple acidity, and hints of sweetness. Not Rated.

Steve, Bryan, Rick, Valerie, Jenn, Aaron, and Jan

Fitou and Cotes de Thongue from 2006

September 19, 2011 Leave a comment

These are two affordable selections that pop up on the shelves at MacArthur’s from time to time.  The Domaine Montrose is available for $13 whereas the Domaine de Rolland is a little cheaper.  I would pass on the Domaine de Rolland and give the Domaine Montrose a go.  The later wine is a bit polarizing but if you like it then you have found a new bargain!

2006 Domaine de Rolland, Fitou
There are blue fruits and herbs in this light to medium bodied wine.  The fruit, acidity, and tannins are all in balance.  It was not particularly complex but left the impression of being at its peak.  I would drink sooner than later.  Pleasing but not exciting. ** Now.

2006 Domaine Montrose, La Balade des Lezards, VdP des Cotes de Thongue
This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah sourced from 50-year-old vines.  This wine drank well over two nights.  There was a medium garnet color and a nose of red, wacky fruit.  A unique set of red fruits with a bit of salt cheerfully exist in this medium-bodied wine.  It is still tannic but has a good amount of acidity.  Towards the end the tannins become drying as the entire package turns astringent.  I suspect this will chug along for several years to come.  This was not Jenn’s favorite. ** Now-2014.

Two German Rieslings from 2007

September 17, 2011 Leave a comment

We recently tried two estate selections from Weingut Schafer-Frohlich in Nahe and Weingut Schloss Lieser inMosel-Saar-Ruwer.  This means they grapes are sourced from the many different vineyards owned by the wineries.  According to the Rudi Wiest website Nahe “vineyards, can produce top Rieslings with citrus-like intensity and an explosive vibrancy unique in this region.”  Indeed these are two completely different wines!  The Schafer-Frohlich showed an apple and citrus profile while the Schloss Lieser showed sweet fruit of peach.

Vineyard at Bockenauer Felseneck, Image from Schafer-Frohlich

These are both Rudi Wiest Selections that I purchased at MacArthur’s.  The Schafer-Frohlich was purchased for $18 and the Schloss Lieser for $22.   I preferred the Schloss Lieser but I do not hesitate in recommending both wines for they demonstrate the interesting contrast between these two regions.  I think that the Schafer-Frohlich will show better in a few years but that the Schloss Lieser has more depth to the fruit.  Or maybe I prefer it because I am on a Mosel kick!

2007 Weingut Schafer-Frohlich, Riesling, Medium-Dry, Nahe
This Riesling  is sourced from vines grown on soils of blue slate, loess, loam, and weathered volcanic roack.  This wine is darker than the Schloss Lieser with its yellow color and gold tinge.  The moderate nose has aromas of cookie dough. In the mouth there are flavors of apple, pink citrus, then piercing acidity that prickles the tongue.  The flavors turn towards green apple in the finish.  On the second day there is good fruit that is riper midpalate with mouth coating acidity.  This become a shock to drink after the Schloss Lieser.  The wine leaves the impression of youthful clunkiness and should be cellared for several years. **(*) 2015-2022.

2007 Weingut Schloss Lieser, Riesling, Kabinett, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
This wine is a light yellow color.  There are some notes of match-stick with some stink at first.  But this eventually blew off.  There is a burst of ripe fruit in the mouth followed by spritz.  The fruit is almost sweet, like yellow peach, then the flavors slowly fall off as a slightly oily finish develops.  A good wine that is drinkable now but will age for some time. *** 2015-2022.

A Tasting at MacArthurs with Fran Kysela

September 16, 2011 2 comments

This past Saturday I managed to arrive at MacArthur’s in time for their afternoon tasting with Fran Kysela.  He was recently nominated by The Wine Enthusiast magazine for Wine Importer of the year.  Coupled with the fact that Jenn and I drink a lot of the wine he imports, I was particularly excited to attend.  Both Fran and Jeremy Sutton poured wine and chatted about the eclectic range of wine on offer from France, Germany, Australia, and South Africa.  The 11 wines ranged in prices from $11 to $32.  With such diversity there were surely favorites for all who attended.

The Lineup

I spent most of my time chatting with Jeremy, Phil, and eventually meeting Fran.  I was rather enjoying their company, myself, and the wine so I did not bother to take any formal notes.  I should hope that I get to taste wine with them again as they both amiable and there is much I could learn from Fran.  I have already posted notes on two of the selections, tasted at home from full bottles, and will eventually get notes up on some of the other selections.  My overall impression was one of good, fresh aromatics followed by clean, pure fruit flavors.  You may read about my individual impressions below.  I rather liked the Sancerre, went back for more of both Mordoree Liracs, felt the Thorn Clarke Quartage is a great bargain, and would like to restaste the Mullineux again in the near future.

2010 Jean Reverdy, La Reine Blanche, Sancerre
This was enjoyable with its aromatic floral nose and core of sweet fruit.  Not Rated.

2009 Gaudrelle, Clos de Vigneau, Vouvray
This is dry with hints of residual sugar with smooth flavors of stone fruits.  Not Rated.

2010 Bastgen, Riesling, Qba Blauschlefer, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer
This was clean, fresh, leaning towards citrus flavors and some minerals.  I only had a tiny sip but this seemed like a solid wine for the price, if not exciting.  Not Rated.

2010 Mordoree, Rose, La Dame Rousse, Tavel
This sports ripe red fruit and has a lovely mouthing coating aftertaste.  Not Rated.

2009 Mordoree, La Dame Rousse, Lirac
This had been open for some time and was showing quite well.  You may read my impression of a bottle drunk in May hereNot Rated.

2009 Segries, Clos de l’Hermitage, Cotes du Rhone
This was consistent with an earlier impression of rich blue fruits, youthful tannins, and a contemporary profile.  Earlier this month we drank a bottle and I published a note hereNot Rated.

2009 Cave de Tain, Crozes-Hermitage
The weakest of the reds, reminded me of a light Crozes.  Available for $25 I would spend $3 to purchase the outstanding 2009 Colombier, Cuvee GabyNot Rated.

2009 Mordoree, La Reine des Bois, Lirac
This was lovely and quite approachable.  Richer than La Dame Rousse but with primary red fruit, a creamier texture, and balance.  This will age for some time.  Not Rated.

2008 Thorn Clarke, Shotfire, Quartage, Barossa Valley
This was soft, savory, subtle with dark fruits.  Strong value.  We recently drank a bottle and I will post a note soon.  Not Rated.

2009 Thorn Clarke, Shotfire, Shiraz, Barossa Valley
This showed black fruit, youthful flavors, richer than the Quartage but less evolved.  I preferred the Quartage.  Not Rated.

2008 Mullineux,  Syrah, Swartland
This showed dark fruit, some herbs, plenty of acidity, structure from oak but in a balanced manner.  I was rather surprised and pleased.  Tasted blind I would not have guessed South Africa.  Not Rated.

The 2011 Nederburg Auction

September 16, 2011 Leave a comment

The 2011 Nederburg Auction is taking place today and tomorrow.  Local wine blogger David White, founder and editor of Terroirist is delivering the keynote address. I like to look at images of old bottles of wine so I put together a gallery of six bottles. You may find notes about these wines in the auction catalog which is available for download on the main site.

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